Christian Divorce Bible Study
by Lillian Holcomb
(Brandon, MS USA)
This notebook chronicles Lillian's Christian divorce Bible Study.
My name is Lillian Holcomb and I am 50 years old. I am a single mother living with 3 children. My work has been published by LifeWay Press through their magazine, Mature Living and Commission Magazine. I have written articles for a denominational state newspaper as well as a university student newspaper. Currently, I am writing my first book Healing Within The Storm - a non-fiction that takes the reader through a healing for separation and or Christian divorce using Bibilical principles.
Date of Entry: July 17, 2008
Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
When we pursue God's righteousness, then we begin to see great strides in our own faith. And with that faith, we learn how to love our spouse, in spite of their betrayal. I have a poster that lists the qualities of the love chapter, taken from the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Many of us have read those words over and over again, but do we really grasp those words, and apply them to our scorned life, when we feel as though someone needs to love us? Just look at how we need to love our spouses.
Love is patient. Are we truly waiting on our spouses to come back to their senses? Or are we trying to always think of ways to make him/her love us and come back to us?
Love is not proud. How many times do we want to place ourselves on the pedestal as the better spouse, and make them pay at their expense? God hates the sin of pride.
Love is kind and does not envy. What if you meet up with the other person? Will you show kindness and respect towards them or will your emotions rip you into a jealous rage?
Love is not self-seeking or boastful. Remember when I said I wanted to make myself known as the warm-blooded wife of her lover? Their (my husband and his friend) perception was simply this: "She's showing who she really is, and that is a vengeful and spiteful person." I wasn't the quiet, stay out of the picture kind of wife.
Love is not easily angered. And how many times have we been provoked to anger – to stand up for what is right, especially with our children? The times that I have shown my anger have exasperated the situation. When I have held my tongue in potentially volatile situations, then I have reaped the joy of a happy outcome.
Love keeps no record of wrongs. So, how many of you have hired an attorney? Are they asking you to keep records of when they call, how many visits the children receive, how many times the child support checks come in, and on and on the list grows? Ask yourself – are those really necessary if you want to win your spouse back to you? Are you piling up ammunition against your spouse, or are you releasing their wrongs into oblivion, so that it will be easier to forgive him/her?
We need to let go of the little stuff so that the bigger wrongs can be made right with God's giant hand.
Love always protects. This phrase can go several ways while we make our stand for our morals as well as protection for our spouse. We must protect our children as much as we can against the devastation of divorce, but that in and of itself is an entirely different book. But we do need to take precautions to protect them against the volatile differences we have with their other parent. We also need to keep in mind that we still need to pray protection around the life of our spouse if we still love them. With the sin that they are into, evil is all around them, and they are not even aware of it.
Who else is going to pray for their protection from the harm they are vulnerable to at this time? Pray for a legion of protective angels around your spouse during this time...your prayer may mean life or death for them!
Love always trusts and does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. How many times does our own behavior have a smattering of evil to it? Like, eavesdropping, or spying, or scheming to catch them in the act, or acting violently because of our jealous rage? Our human nature delights in that sort of thing, because we feel as though we have a right and we want the satisfaction of slamming our spouse. So how do we rejoice in truth? We lay claim to God's Word, His promises, obey what He wants – not what we want, and rejoice in the fact that God loves us and has great concern for us in spite of what our spouses think about us. That is truth! Remember, anything that is hurtful from your spouse is not of truth, and the Word is not in him/her. We need to focus on Who really loves us, rather than fighting desperately for something that has turned loveless.
Love always perseveres. Love always hopes. Aaaghghgh! How do we stand up against the accusations of others? How do we stand up to the thought of losing everything including our children? How do obediently obey God's Word, in spite of difficulties and setbacks? James 1:2-26 has much to say about perseverance and the way in which we should handle ourselves during this difficult period, if we lay claim to the fact that we cannot handle this ourselves, and we rely on God's teachings and then obey what He teaches. We are placed in these situations to test our faith to see just how fatihful we are to the One we call Our Savior! And then, when we begin to apply God's Word to our own lives and that of our marriage, then we will have hope, we will see promises in God's word fulfilled, and we will know that we can truly rely on God's Word as we persevere through this thing called separation and divorce.
Love never fails. Even if you have claimed all of these qualities of love towards your spouse, and they still have not shown up on your doorstep, you still hold the key to reconciliation, simply because you have shown love towards your spouse whether or not they accept it. Love was spilt on the cross for my sin, your sin, and our spouse's sin, yet none of us had to accept it, if we have chosen not to. And that is what free love is. That is what forgiveness is all about. That is what unconditional love is. We accept our spouse in spite of his/her sin.
They see how much we love them, yet it is within human nature to keep on rejecting that kind of agape love, simply because sin has become their god. Sometimes it's way too much for the prodigal to accept at the time it is offered. Our love towards them is still felt by them, whether or not we recognize it. It is very difficult for an adulterous person to admit they were wrong, simply because of pride, control by the other person, and the kind of situation they find themselves in. It is when the person becomes totally broken of their sin, that they will accept your love. And that is why, God's Word says, Love never fails.
Questions it brought to my mind...
How can I love my spouse when they...(fill in the blank)
What are some attitudes or behaviors in your own life that is stopping you from loving your prodigal spouse?
Do you love your prodigal spouse? Why or why not?
Make a list of those things which made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place. Choose to focus on those things.
My closing prayer...
Dear Father, I don't know anything about this kind of love you are talking about. All I know is that I have lost the one I love and I am very hurt. Take my shattered heart, and make it whole again by replacing scorn with grace, accusations with forgiveness, hatred with love, pain with God's Word and disdain with hope. I know you love me, and I know you love my spouse, but I can't put this all together. Give me the strength and fortitude to carry through this. Enable me to praise when the bad stuff hits, cause I know You will see me through.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.